Drummer Chad Melchert had to wait a few years for his call to hall, and now that it’s here he can barely believe it.
Melchert, a former Prince Albert resident who still has ties to the community, won his fifth Drummer of the Year Award at the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards on Sunday. The win means Melchert automatically receives induction onto the CCMA’s Hall of Honour.
“I don’t think you ever expect to win these things,” Melchert said by phone from Moorhead, Minn., where he’s touring as part of the ‘We Will Rock You’ musical. “Obviously I had won in the past, but it had been a few years (since the last win). It was really kind of a shock. That was my first reaction, then a sense of relief.”
Melchert’s induction breaks new ground in the Hall of Honour. A total of 13 musicians have been inducted since the CCMA created it, but Melchert is the first drummer to get in.
He won his first CCMA Drummer of the Year Award in 2012, and won again in 2014, 2015 and 2016. However, he failed to win his fifth title the next two years, despite being nominated both times.
Getting that fifth win, and induction into the hall, was special, especially given the quality of the musicians who went before him.
“The guys that are in the Hall of Honour are guys I’ve played with, guys that were years ahead of me but I have done shows with, that I really looked up to and admired,” he said. “It really is an honour to be in their with those guys. They’re great musicians.”
Due to his touring schedule, Melchert wasn’t on hand to accept the award. Instead, he had a friend deliver a speech on his behalf. He then spent the rest of the day answering a bevy of texts from family and friends, including some from Prince Albert musical luminaries like Donny Parenteau and Brian Sklar.
“My phone just started going crazy in the afternoon when I was getting ready to run over to perform, so yeah, it really blew up,” he chuckled.
Melchert is on tour in the U.S. until Dec.1, when they get a four-week break before they start performing in Canada. It’s the first time he’s ever played as part of a musical, and he says the experience has been amazing.
Melchert credited his time in Prince Albert for helping shape him into the musician he is today. He said the community has done a great job of nurturing so many musical talents, and also thanked his family for their role in helping him achieve those awards.
“It’s not always easy when you have family. You’re missing funerals, weddings and all these things, and I was never made to feel guilty,” he explained. “To have my family’s support every step of the way has been crucial to me reaching the pinnacle of the Hall of Honour.”